Why Wordless Picture Books are Important
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Confidence and Independence
Building confidence is important to develop a child’s love of reading. Wordless picture books are wonderful for strengthening independence, particularly for young readers. A child feels confidence and pride in reading a book by themselves. Learning to read is hard and it is important to have positive reading experiences. Wordless books give children a break from decoding and the opportunity to focus on the story itself. Encouraging children to pick up another book often depends on their last reading experience.
Verbal Skills and Discussion
- What is happening?
- Tell me about the characters. What are their emotions?
- What is the character thinking? How do you know?
- What is the character’s goal/mission? How will they achieve their goal?
- Why did the character make this choice? Could they have made a better choice?
- What is the character going to do next? How will their actions effect the story?
- What do you think the character is saying? Why?
- What is the setting of the story? What do you notice about the setting?
- What will happen next? How do you know?
Storytelling increases vocabulary and verbal skills. When discussing the story introduce new and more complex vocabulary. Describe illustrations, plots and characters actions and emotions in detail. As you introduce new words, children will incorporate them into their own language as they understand the context within which to use it.
Wordless books are a great way to establish an understanding of how blending words with art tells a story. Looking for clues within illustrations helps the reader interpret a book’s plot. Transferring this skill to books with text helps children read unknown words independently. Take time to pour over the illustrations, removing the pressure some children may feel when reading.
Story Structure and Sequencing
Wordless picture books lend themselves to developing storytelling skills. Examine the story structure together. Focus on the beginning, middle and end and the sequence of events. Retelling improves as children understand that actions happen in a particular order affecting the outcome of the plot.
As a teacher, I used wordless picture books to inspire creative writing. Children can retell the story, add character dialogue and write an epilogue or a prelude. Using books as inspiration will help those children who struggle to develop creative ideas.
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